Eligibility and inscrutability

Philosophical Review 116 (3):361-399 (2007)
Inscrutability arguments threaten to reduce interpretationist metasemantic theories to absurdity. Can we find some way to block the arguments? A highly influential proposal in this regard is David Lewis’ ‘eligibility’ response: some theories are better than others, not because they fit the data better, but because they are framed in terms of more natural properties. The purposes of this paper are (1) to outline the nature of the eligibility proposal, making the case that it is not ad hoc, but instead flows naturally from three independently motivated elements; and (2) to show that severe limitations afflict the proposal. In conclusion, I pick out the element of the eligibility response that is responsible for the limitations: future work in this area should therefore concentrate on amending this aspect of the overall theory.
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DOI 10.1215/00318108-2007-002
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Stephen Kearns & Ofra Magidor (2012). Semantic Sovereignty. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):322-350.

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